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The Soul of Aspen Mountain.

The Soul of Ajax panel discussion 3/6/11 Click 4 pixNobody is sure how Aspen Mountain picked up the nickname Ajax...but the purists in Aspen don't use that moniker anyway.  They prefer to call their beloved "back yard" by it's given name...Aspen Mountain.

The Aspen Historical Society presented the Soul of Aspen Mountain as part of their successful historical series, Time Travel Tuesdays.  Each of Aspen's Power of Four will get their due...next Tuesday's session will explore the Soul of Buttermilk.

Aspen Mountain's panel of experts shared their insights and love for Aspen Mountain before a standing room crowd at The Limelight.  Panelists included Aspen vets, Gaard Moses, Val Edgington, Brigitte Birkfelder, Jim Hancock, Eric Peltonen and Tony Vagneur.

The Soul of Aspen Mountain (click 4 pix)

Everyone in the room agreed that Aspen Mountain is a very special place.  Tales were swapped by the panelists and the audience.  It was a unanimous decision that THE PEOPLE, THE COMMUNITY and THE Camaraderie and the fact that Aspen Mountain is situated as part of the town itself give Aspen Mountain a unique and extraordinary place in their hearts.

A lot of love for Ajax. Click 4 pix.Gaard shared stories of sperlunking and exploring the inner beauty of Aspen Mountain and nabbing mining claims and living on Little Nell.  He admitted to now living downvalley in "the Middle Kingdom".

Val has been a liftie since 1978.  She came to Aspen immediately after college and her loyalty to the Ski Co. was evident.

Brigitte actually grew up living in The Sundeck.  As a young lady...she was best friends with the ski patrol...even though they used to stuff her in the trash bins (they were playing with her) but she would come back for more.  She used to ski down to school...and this was the days before grooming.  On powder days, her Mom would ski down first to cut the trails so Brigitte could get to school on time.  She now owns and operates Bonnie's...a historic eatery that serves the best food in Aspen.

Jim admitted to being an "Ajax-Aholic".  He finished his last AA run just an hour or two before the event.  He is now in charge of the race crew and sets the course for the World Cup Races every November.  He offered the theory that Aspen skis much larger than it's 675 acres.  "It's fall line skiing...top to bottom"

The stories were flowing. Click 4 pix.Before moving to Aspen in 1966, Eric heard that it "only snowed at night" and that the medians on Main Street had Pot growing in them.  He shared a story about the infamous Ski Patrol strike over "the cleaning of our ski pants".  He admitted he loved Aspen...and "I can't afford to leave".

Tony V has been shredding Aspen Mountain for 62 years.  Referring to Aspen Mountain he is "still seduced by her beauty".  He told boyhood tales of sneaking onto the T-Bar and bouncing the chairs so vigorously that the cable popped off the rollers.  He refused to identify his "secret stashes" but told the crowd that he skies POW POW every run...if he wants it.

The room was overflowing with like-minded Ajax (oops, sorry) lovers.  When the time was up...people did not want to leave.  They wanted to share their own epic stories about Aspen Mountain.  When asked to compare races held at Aspen Mountain to those at Snowmass, one Aspen Mountain vet said,  It's a downhill race, not cross country".

There was a lot of Love in that Room.  To learn more about the Soul of Ajax and the other 3 local mountains in Aspen...visit the Aspen Historical Society.

Photo: Courtesy of Aspen Historical Society.



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Reader Comments (3)

It was standing room only, with wonderful accounts of glorious days on the mountain!

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Reckling

Nice commentary, Andy! It was a great crowd . . .

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTony Vagneur

In the early 70's Jim Blanning showed me a map book from the early silver mining days showing all the mining claims and tunnels and geological strata maps of Aspen mountain. There was a hill marked as Ajax hill on Aspen mountain. If I recall Ajax was where the Sun Deck is sited. Bell hill is now called bell mt.

March 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriain young

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